Haga’s WSB return hampered by gearbox failure
Noriyuki Haga’s debut for the Renegade Ducati WSB team this week has been hampered a failed gearbox.
The team took part in an unofficial two day test at the Valencia circuit in Spain, alongside the PSG-1, DFX and Ten Kate WSB teams and Belgarda World Supersport squad. Haga ended the two day session fourth fastest with a time of 1:37.2, despite breaking his gearbox on the second day. He was more than two seconds outside the 1:34.63 lap record, set by Neil Hodgson in 2003.
Team mate Leon Haslam was joint second quickest with a 1:36.8, following a crash due to a split oil cooler dumping oil over his rear tyre.
Steve Martin was quickest with 1:36.2, but was also among the fallers, requiring stitches in his leg. Pier-Francesco Chili and Fabian Foret also had minor spills, but it was Jurgen Van den Goorbergh, testing for the Belgarda WSS team, who had the biggest crash. The Dutchman was taken to hospital with two suspected broken ribs and minor concussion.
The star of the testing has been Ten Kate’s Chris Vermuelen. You can read a full report on the World Superbike spec Blade debut in MCN, February 11, but we can reveal the team were forced to run on 17 inch rims due to a delay in new wheels turning up. As the Pirelli control tyres are only available in a maximum size of 16.5 inches, Vermuelen was forced to test on treaded Superstock tyres for the two days. He managed a time of 1:38.3, despite the fact his Blade was shredding the tyres within five laps.
Valencia final times:
1) Martin 1:36. 2. 2) Haslam and Chili 1:36.8. 4) Haga 1:37.2. 5) Borciani 1:37.7. 6) Vermuelen 1:38.3.
Discuss this test session on the World Superbike discussion board by following the link on the right. You can find out more about the Ten Kate Blade in-depth in MCN, out February 11.